The Flower of Life is the modern name given to a geometrical figure composed of multiple evenly-spaced, overlapping circles. They are arranged to form a flower-like pattern with a sixfold symmetry, similar to a hexagon. The center of each circle is on the circumference of six surrounding circles of the same diameter.
It is considered by some to be a symbol of sacred geometry, said to contain ancient, religious value depicting the fundamental forms of space and time. In this sense, it is a visual expression of the connections life weaves through all sentient beings, and it is believed to contain a type of Akashic Record of basic information of all living things.
There are many spiritual beliefs associated with the Flower of Life; for example, depictions of the five Platonic Solids are found within the symbol of Metatron’s Cube, which may be derived from the Flower of Life pattern. These platonic solids are geometrical forms which are said to act as a template from which all life springs.
According to Drunvalo Melchizedek, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the stages which construct the Seed of Life are said to represent the six days of Creation, in which Elohim created life; Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 23:12, 31:16-17, Isaiah 56:6-8. Within these stages, among other things, are the symbols of the Vesica Piscis, an ancient religious symbol, and Borromean rings, which represents the Holy Trinity.
Symbolism & Nomenclature
These are not words I’m making up, these are the actual words that were used in ancient times to describe this. I think they called it the Flower of Life because it looks like a flower and because it [represents] the laws and proportions for everything alive and even not alive; everything that’s manifested.
—Drunvalo Melchizedek, speaking in a presentation on the Flower of Life.
The Flower of Life has represented meaning to many people throughout history. It can be found in the temples, art, and manuscripts of cultures from all over the world. The following are some of the locations in which the Flower of Life symbol has been sighted:
- Assyria – Palace of Ashurbanipal.
- Egypt – The Temple of Osiris in Abydos and at Mount Sinai.
- Romania – Carphatians.
- Israel – Masada
- China – The Forbidden City and various temples.
- Japan – Various temples.
- India – The Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Hampi, and the temples at Ajanta.
- Bulgaria – Ancient city of Preslav(893 BC) and in ruins of Kabile, near the city of Jambol.
- Turkey – Various old Roman sites.
- Italy – Italian art from the 13th century (Wolfram 2002, p. 43).
- North Africa – Morocco
- Middle East – Lebanon and various Islamic mosques.
- South America – Peru
- North America – Mexico
- Great Britain – In Westminster Abbey within the 13th century Cosmati pavement.
Assyria and Abydos
It was originally thought that the Temple of Osiris in Abydos, Egypt contained the oldest known examples of the Flower of Life. It is now known that an earlier example of the pattern can be seen in the Assyrian rooms of the Louvre Museum in Paris. The design forms part of a gypsum or alabaster threshold step measuring 2.07 x 1.26 meters (6.8 x 4.1 feet) that originally existed in one of the palaces of King Ashurbanipal, and has been dated to c. 645 BC.
The Abydos examples from Egypt are also worthy of note. Claims that they are over 6,000 years old and may date back to as long ago as 10,500 BC. or earlier have not yet been confirmed. Recent research shows that these symbols can be no earlier than 535 B.C., and most probably date to the 2nd and 4th century AD, based on photographic evidence of Greek text, still to be fully deciphered, seen alongside the Flower of Life circles and the position of the circles close to the top of columns, which are over 4 metres in height. This suggests the Osirion was half filled with sand prior to the circles being drawn and therefore likely to have been well after the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Possibly five Flower of Life patterns can be seen on one of the granite columns and a further five on a column opposite of the Osirion. Some are very faint and hard to distinguish. They have not been carved into the granite but been drawn in red ochre with careful precision.
Kabbalah / Judaism
The symbol of the Tree of Life, which may be derived from the design of the Flower of Life, is studied as part of the teachings of the Kabbalah.
In New Age thought, the Flower of Life has provided what is considered to be deep spiritual meaning and forms of enlightenment to those who have studied it as sacred geometry. There are various groups all over the world who derive particular beliefs and forms of meditation based (at least in part) on the Flower of Life.
The concept of the Tree of life has been adopted by some Hermeticists and pagans. The symbol of the Tree of Life may be derived from the Flower of Life.
One of the earliest known occurrences of the Vesica Piscis, and perhaps the first, was among the Pythagoreans, who considered it a holy figure. The Vesica Piscis is a basic component of the Flower of Life.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci studied the Flower of Life’s form and its mathematical properties. He drew the Flower of Life itself, as well as various components such as the Seed of Life. He drew geometric figures representing shapes such as the platonic solids, a sphere, and a torus, and also used the golden ratio of phi in his artwork; all of which may be derived from the Flower of Life design.
In some renditions, the rosette on the unofficial flag of Padania is a symbol taken from the Flower of Life pattern. A minor rosette of the Flower of Life was also used for the US Television series Charmed. The symbol used is a wiccan form of the Flower of Life and consists of three intersecting circles (See tripod of life). A rosette from the Flower of Life is also used as a basis for traditional Pennsylvania Dutch building ornamentation (see Folk Art of Rural Pennsylvania by Frances Lichten, 1946). The Queyras Park logo bears the rosette as well.
Sacred geometry can be described as a belief system attributing a religious or cultural value to many of the fundamental forms of space and time. According to this belief system, the basic patterns of existence are perceived as sacred, since contemplating one is contemplating the origin of all things. By studying the nature of these forms and their relationship to each other, one may seek to gain insight into the scientific, philosophical, psychological, aesthetic and mystical laws of the universe.
The Flower of Life is considered to be a symbol of sacred geometry, said to contain ancient, religious value depicting the fundamental forms of space and time. In this sense, it is a visual expression of the connections life weaves through all sentient beings, and it is believed to contain a type of Akashic Record of basic information of all living things.